Title: Jane the Virgin S2.E09 “Chapter Thirty-One”
Released: 2016
Series:  Jane the Virgin

WOW I did NOT realize how much I missed Jane‘s Miami, until #Snowzilla2016 dumped 30″ of snow on my (rural, uphill) driveway this past weekend. Hey, sunshine! Hey Jane fans! Let’s get to it.



Alba! She’s the expert sleep-trainer, the expert granddaughter supporter, and, surprisingly, the expert model for strong older women accepting—and promoting the happiness of—gay people. Honestly, what *can’t* Alba do?

Thanks, Catholic Church! You made the world a bit better in spite of yourself.


Um, OBVIOUSLY Rafael getting stabbed in the back (metaphorically) and the neck (literally) by his own mother.

Actual gif not yet available; thanks, as always, PLL, for coming through in a pinch!

I actually jumped halfway out of my chair when that needle appeared from offscreen. Great job, show!


Weirdly, a tie between Sports Center and the Catholic Church. What even is this show.*

*Perfection, is what. This show is perfection.


Jane broke off with both her ex-fiancé, Worst Detective Michael, and her in-sperm-only baby daddy, Orphaned Hotelier Raphael. Why? Because Michael couldn’t keep his temper in check around Baby Mateo, and Raphael couldn’t keep his good parenting instincts in check when it came to getting Michael out of their lives at any cost. And since Michael didn’t ACTUALLY lose his job when Raphael schemed to inform on Michael’s *actual* illegal activities (namely, exchanging a very important flash drive of Sin Rostro’s to treasonous ex-Detective Nadine for the safe return of kidnapped Baby Mateo…look, this show is complicated, okay?) to his cop boss, that cost was exactly none. But Jane is mad at him anyway, because human brains are not perfect at logic, especially when human hearts are involved.

On the Solano front, Rafael is finally back on Petra’s side, even though she snuck his babies into her belly as a dumb trick to try to win him back. Why? Because Petra’s mom killed a guy with her hook hand, then framed Petra for it. And that’s not Raf’s only mom problem—his own birth mother abandoned him for $10mil payout when he was a kid, and had the ladyballs to try to make peace with him so many decades later, AND his half-sister Luisa’s mom turns out to have faked her suicide in order to go underground as the famed pre-Sin Rostro Miami crime lord, Mutter (criminal signature, blue silk ties). 


Just When We Thought We’d Seen Peak!Baby!Jane…

Jane has always been a high academic achiever, which fact has already been proven to us many times over in flashbacks to her at every age. The one thing school-related thing she has not historically achieved even mediocrity in, though? Sports. Sports, and predicting when sports players/men are going to take advantage of her good will efforts at making peace. In second grade, this surprise betrayal came at the hands of a little boy whose incessant dodgeball pelting Jane’s abuela had interpreted as a crush, but was really retribution for Jane not letting him cheat off of her in math class. In the present day? Well, Raf secretly turning Michael in to Michael’s cop boss certainly took her by surprise however many weeks ago. As did Michael’s refusal to make nice with her at Christmas after his month in Mexico. And in the very near future, she will definitely be surprised by her school’s best b-ballers openly mocking her professorial expectations of them, and of her professorial supervisor openly asking her to give the ballers special treatment.

But that’s yet to come! At this very moment in time, the one thing a man has done that she least expected, is Michael showing up at her doorstep to, yes, make peace, and to tell Jane that he understood Raf’s reasons for turning him in, and that they, too, have made peace. RED LIGHT, JANE! Or rather, red dodgeball: Michael and Raf ever making peace? You are literally dreaming, girl. 

Who Needs Sleep? (You’re Never Gonna Get It)

…and dreaming badly, as one is wont to do when a baby going through sleep regression is waking you up every hour with his wailing. Yep, (BIG) Baby Mateo has reached his newest milestone—sleep training! And Jane, unsurprisingly, is too much of a softie to even consider Alba’s insistence that the only way to get through it is to make the baby cry itself out. And thus begins the vicious cycle of technique research and baby wailing that leads to the increasingly sleep-deprived Villanueva women yanking the cord on some plot points that could have simmered dramatically (and ineffectually) for weeks in the hands of a show less sure of itself.

Plot 1: Jane (Don’t) Got Game

Jane is so completely believable as an enthusiastic dork on her first day leading the discussion section of the Great Books 105 seminar. “These *are* Great books! Eh?? GET IT???” Her shock and disillusionment at finding out half her students are ballers looking for an easy A is just as believable, as is her full court press (is that a thing) to learn enough about basketball to make the discussion topics appealing to athletes as possible. She is so hopeful about a paradigm shift in the university vs. university athletics tradition! Oh, Janey.

She does manage to get most of the students on board, but the team’s best player, McBaskets, refuses to kowtow to her firebrand ways, and doesn’t even bother turning in a first paper. When he wheedles a second chance out of her, she ends up reading a plagiarized paper (hilariously, a plagiarized paper she herself wrote about as an undergrad). Her sleep deprivation has worn her nerves so thin that this is the last straw, and she refuses to give McBaskets a break—a decision which will result in him losing real game time. Unfortunately, ballers be ballin’ for alumni endowments, so…her prof calls her up to ask her to give the kid one final final shot. It is so gross! I hate university sports! I am so thankful my Humanities 101 survey course prof/supervisor was on the same page, and told us regularly not to give athletes any special treatment. Thank you, Dr. Calhoun. I never knew I had it so good. 

(I should take a moment here to say that university athletics place an unfair burden on more than just the faculty and staff there to teach dedicated students: it plunders the health and wealth and academic potential of the athletes, themselves. Burn it all down!)

So Jane begrudgingly agrees to give McBaskets one last shot as it were (thank you, I’m here most weeks), and catches him before practice to tell him so. He STILL tries to back out of it, because YES THAT IS OUR WORLD, but Jane treats his reticence as a fear of writing failure to be overcome, and so challenges him to a pick-up game: if she can make just one basket against him, he will have to agree to write the paper. Now, this is a very terrible precedent for a first year TA to set for herself at the very beginning of the semester, but it does make for good television, so, allowed.

Unsurprisingly, Jane is a terrible basketball player. She doesn’t even get close to making a basket. But her good faith effort wins McBaskets over (he is not there to be won over so he can patronizingly ruffle his TA’s hair! he is there to learn from and respect his teachers!), and he agrees to write the paper. And WE agree to believe that Jane is still doing grad classes and leading discussion sections, so that that part of her life can stay between the lines of the next few scripts.

Plot 2: Jane (Don’t) Got Back

Anxious about Rogelio’s mom visiting, Xiomara makes up excuse after excuse to stay out of the house. One of those excuses is picking up dinner from Jane’s—and Michael’s—favorite cubano truck, outside of which she sees Michael…with what looks to be a new girlfriend. And because she is so very sleep deprived, she doesn’t think about the consequences before telling Jane. And then NEITHER of them think about the consequences before using Facebook stalking of the poor girl as a way to distract themselves from Mateo’s failing sleep training. Honestly, they both deserve what comes next: Mateo accidentally kicking “Add Friend” after Jane guiltily retrieves him. Jane immediately retracts the request, but she knows that if the new girlfriend has Facebook on her phone (score one for those of us who do not), she will have received the initial alert regardless, and she will definitely be able to figure out that Jane is Michael’s ex, and it will definitely come back to bite Jane in her exhausted rear.

The new girlfriend does, and did, and it does bite Jane hard. Michael comes by *for real* the next day to confront Jane about it, and somehow the discussion devolves into only Jane apologizing for and explaining her behavior, and Michael telling her how their future is going to be. He does not once indicate that he never lost his job to Rafael’s scheme in the first place, and also that it is just as much on him that he didn’t make his intentions with the Christmas Angel clearer. Nope! It’s all Jane’s fault for originally believing Raf’s lie, and for reading too much into Michael’s good guy repairman move!

Yeah, yeah, yeah, he does want Jane to be happy. And I believe him. Just get out of her life already!

Anyway, thanks Mateo, for shortening with your sleepless screams what could have been an insufferable new angle on this insufferable love triangle.

Plot 3: Rogelio’s Got a Brand New Dad

The other big event in the Villanuevas’ lives this week is Rogelio’s parents coming for a visit. Or rather, it was SUPPOSED to be. Glam-pa wasn’t well enough to travel, Rita Moreno explains when she and Rogelio finally arrive. It is clear that there is something else going on with her, but Rogelio wasn’t able to get it out of her on the drive from the airport. Jane suspects she (and Mateo) might be able to get it out of her, so takes the shot (basketball everywhere!) and scores: Glam-pa isn’t sick; he’s gay. And he’s leaving his wife of 47 years for a man. Oh, and Jane can’t tell ANYONE.

Okay then! 

Jane gives keeping this secret her all, but quickly breaks down and tells Xiomara after she thinks Xo already overheard enough to start imagining the worst. Pretty quickly, Xiomara breaks down and tells Alba. Look, you want these women to keep secrets, you gotta let them sleep, Jane!

Glamma had told Jane she didn’t want Rogelio to know, because he admired their marriage so deeply and learning the truth would upset his whole worldview. Not one Villanueva woman thinks this is the case, a fact Rogelio confirms when their exhaustion leads them to slip the truth to him, too. Rogelio doesn’t confront his mother right away, however—no, he takes the most Rogelio of paths possible and throws a gay-friendly dinner, to which he invites Alba’s gay church friend and Jane’s gay bartending friend (hi, Luca!) and makes a big deal about opening with a very gay inclusive prayer.


Glamma catches on quickly, and admits that she didn’t want Ro to know the truth, because Glampa had said he would move out once Rogelio knew. And now that that’s the case, she can’t go on pretending it won’t happen. Awwww.

ONLY THIS IS QUITE THE CASE! Glampa shows up the next day, baffled as to why he was left behind, and is aghast to hear the story his wife was telling while he was gone. It turns out she has known he was gay for forty years, and they’d just had an agreement about it until now, when he found a man he wanted to spend his life with. Lies and drama! Rogelio so would come from such an amazing background. Perfect.

In a neat twist on the usual formula, it is Glamma who retires to the Villanueva porch swing to wallow in her anxiety, and Rogelio who comes to comfort her. It is on the swing that she finally admits the real truth: she’s scared. She moved straight from her parents’ house to her husband’s, and has never once been alone in her life. Rogelio promises that she will never be alone, and they hug, and I believe even more in the real magic in that porch swing.

Another victory, Mateo! AND you wrangled a whole new family member out of the deal!

Ultimately, it is Alba’s “let ‘im cry” method that works to break Mateo’s sleep regression, and not a moment too soon. The Villanueva women get their sleep, and Mateo gets to start dreaming of brand new ways to make our favorite storylines move even faster.

Mum’s the Word

On the other side of Miami, Rafael and Michael are each independently mired in the world of murderous moms. The first set of moms—Luisa’s and Raf’s own—they are both involved with, as Michael and his new partner Susanna suspect that Luisa’s mom faked her own suicide and then switched identities with a crazy woman in order to go into business as the 1980s Miami crime lord, Mutter, and thus are chasing after any information at all that might lead to her whereabouts. One lead? Rafael’s mom! That loving woman who was so bummed by her marriage to Solano, Sr. that she took a $10mil pay-off to leave Raf behind and go start a new life. 

Another lead? Our favorite grief-stricken, lustful oddball, Luisa! The woman who is as likely to set up a clandestine booty call with a wanted black widow drug lord as she is to share any leads with the cops! 

Thankfully—both for the Miami PD’s investigation and for the purposes of our entertainment—Luisa has a mad crush on Detective Susanna, and Detective Susanna is very good at using all the investigative tools she has at her disposal. And if those tools just so happen to be her lips, or a very personal memory about her own disappeared father, well, so much the better for all of us. And it works! Sort of. Luisa was so young when he mother disappeared that all she can remember is a dumb bedtime story about a magical pond with glowing fairy fish, but it turns out that that isn’t the nonsense it seems. Or rather, it is *exactly* the nonsense it seems, it just happens to match up with the same nonsense in Mia’s mental institution journals, and taken together the two illuminate (pun intended) a very real lake in the very real world full of very real bioluminescent fish. 

…unfortunately, that very real lake turns out to be the place that Mia escaped to NOT to set up her criminal mastermind operation, but rather to live out a quiet, solitary life, away from the rest of the world and away from Baby!Luisa. And while they called her death wrong once before, this time, DNA has borne out what Susanna reports to Luisa later that week: her mom is really, truly dead.

Not dead (unfortunately) is Petra’s mom, Magda, who not only turned Petra in for no apparent reason (or maybe I’ve forgotten over the hiatus?), but also planted false evidence by bloodying up a Marbella knife with Petra’s prints all over it and claiming it, not her own hook, was the murder weapon. How does Magda even sleep at night??? Sleeping pills, and a fiery will to survive, she answers Petra. “Just ze way I raised YOU!” she adds. Well, she only suggests she raised Petra with a will to survive; I’m interpolating the consistent use of sleeping pills. 

So Petra is stuck between a rock and a plea deal for a crime she didn’t even commit. Thankfully, Rafael is a very good human and leaps into the fray to support her. She’d do a lot, he and we know well, but Petra wouldn’t just up and KILL a dude. And anyway, Raf’s met Magda. He knows what’s up. And so it is that Raf misses all the sleep training shenanigans over at the Villanuevas (which, while I appreciate immensely Rafael finally having some stories that aren’t centered around Jane+Mateo, I wish they had either he or Jane referred just ONCE in passing to the existence of the other parent) in order to be emotional, physical, and culinary support for poor Petra. And it is with just that culinary support that the two of them land on two very important conclusions:

1) there is literally no way that Rafael’s mother can be any worse than Magda, so he should at least give reconciliation a shot (Chekhov’s reconciliation!); and

2) the bloody knife that Magda gave the cops is stamped with the from the completely new cutlery the Marbella ordered AFTER Ivan’s murder. One quick call to the fancy lawyer who’d been pushing for the plea deal later and whoosh! Magda is in cuffs (and fine witch-cursing form), Petra is free, and she and Raf are hugging around her giant baby bump. 

Rafael’s spirits are so high from his and Petra’s success that he takes her advice and calls his mom, Elena, over to the Marbella to talk before she can leave Miami once more. Elena explains how she met Emilio shortly after she immigrated to the US, and that they had a whirlwind romance—including marriage and a child—all in her first year in Miami. She tells Raf, too, that she had heard plenty about Emilio’s unstable ex-wife, and assumed that was why Emilio fixated on her so hard, and that ultimately that fixation was too much for her to handle; it pushed her into an affair, and, eventually, into leaving. “I hope you and I can have a chance now,” she says kindly, as Raf glares back with equal parts anger, sadness, and hope. 

Unfortunately for Rafael, at the very same time he is giving in to his deepest desire to cobble together as much of a family as he can, Michael and Susanna are at the precinct breaking down how the news about Mia’s death affects their hunt for Mutter. Whoever Mutter is, she has to have had access to Emilio’s company in 1983, when one of Mutter’s few (newly) known bases of operations was purchased. Emilio had access, but he’s drinking concrete these days; Mia had access, but she went to die near her glowing fishes. That just leaves (dun dun DUNNNNN) ELENA.

Smash cut to Raf searching a storage closet for a box labeled Elena’s Things, in which he finds a pile of letters…wrapped in Mutter’s signature blue silk cords. He has only just had enough time to put two + mom together and take out his phone and dial Michael, when Elena shoots in from offscreen and slams a needle into her own son’s neck. “Where is the flash drive you traded for Mateo?” she hisses. “Rose…we gave it to Rose…” Raf croaks, eyes bulging in pain and disbelief. But Rose doesn’t have it, Elena claims. So who did they give it to? “Rose…” Raf tries again, before asking, “why are you doing this? What’s happening??” And then she slams tranquilizer into his veins and he drops to the marble floor like so much dead weight.



Sure seems like we should lead with some news on Rafael’s assault and kidnap! But nope. At least there *is* this…


Last time we met, 33% of you predicted this pairing would happen quickest. Now that it’s arrived in the form of one of Jane’s lucid, lusty subconscious daydreams, what are the chances that the pairing will REALLY happen?

About the Contributor:

Alexis Gunderson is a TV critic and audiobibliophile. A Wyoming expat, she now lives in Maryland, where she runs the DC chapter of the FYA Book Club. She can be found talking about Teen TV on Twitter, and her longform criticism can be found on Authory.


This post was written by a guest writer or former contributor for Forever Young Adult.